Round 1 Mock Draft
1. Cleveland: Sam Darnold (Quarterback)
Why: Without a doubt, Darnold is the best quarterback in this class. He’s got Aaron Rodgers-type potential and should light up the league after he sits and learns behind Tyrod Taylor for a couple of years.
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley (Running Back)
Why: I’m feeding into the hype. The Giants need a long-term answer at running back, Barkley is the best player in the draft, and from a marketing perspective? This is a match made in heaven.
3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield (Quarterback)
Why: New York is changing its culture and filling its roster with dogs. Mayfield commands every room he’s in and is arguably the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft.
4. Cleveland: Minkah Fitzpatrick (Safety)
Why: No Barkley for Cleveland, but the defense looks promising and Fitzpatrick is a player who you can plug in immediately and play alongside Jabrill Peppers (who is more suited to play strong safety).
5. Denver: Denzel Ward (Cornerback)
Why: Aquib Talib is gone and though Chris Harris Jr. is still performing at an All-Pro level, there’s need for the Broncos to find another young stud to pair opposite of Bradley Roby. Without question, the best pure cover corner in the draft, Ward can start from day one and the Broncos’ secondary won’t miss a beat despite the loss of Talib.
6. Indianapolis: Bradley Chubb (Defensive End)
Why: This is an actual slam dunk. The Colts defense needs an injection of talent along its front, and Chubb has the looks of a 10-year starter who should make a couple of Pro Bowls.
7. Tampa Bay: Derwin James (Safety)
Why: No changes here. James upgrades the secondary and stays home in Florida, where he established a reputation as a playmaker with the Noles. An alpha personality, James has the ability to lead not only your secondary but your defense. Players like this don’t come around often, and he could be the best defender in the draft.
8. Chicago: Quenton Nelson (OG)
Why: Hall of Fame Potential. Fills a huge need. Enough Said.
9. San Francisco: Calvin Ridley (Wide Receiver)
Why: You can’t pay “Jimmy G” all that cash without surrounding him with weapons. Although, Marquise Goodwin had a career year in 2017, he’s not a No. 1 receiver. Ridley is a true No. 1, and the best route-runner I’ve seen at the college ranks.
10. Oakland: Tremaine Edmunds (Linebacker)
Why: He’s not yet 20, and he has Brian Urlacher-like type upside. Jon Gruden’s squad gets a phenomenal young talent whose destined to make plenty of Pro Bowls.
11. Miami: Josh Rosen (Quarterback)
Why: This is a perfect fit for Miami. Tannehill isn’t the answer at quarterback, and Rosen has the personality to get fans in the seats in South Beach. I personally think he’s the second-best quarterback in this draft and the most ready to start day one.
12. Buffalo: Josh Allen (Quarterback)
Why: Buffalo needs a quarterback. Badly. Look for the Bills to trade up, but if that's not possible expect them to take the most hyped quarterback left on the board. Accuracy issues aside, Allen has amazing arm strength and will get time to develop behind the newly acquired A.J. McCarron.
13. Washington: Vita Vea (Defensive Tackle)
Why: A true nose tackle that fits inside the Redskins’ 3-4 defense, Vea is a massive (6-foot-4, 347 pounds) run-clogger who has the quickness to make a difference as a pass rusher. This kids, is a young Haloti Ngata in the flesh.
14. Green Bay: Roquan Smith (Linebacker)
Why: Green Bay’s inside linebackers are decent. Roquan Smith is the real deal -- just ask SEC opponents. The Packers’ defense has been their achilles heal and this solidifies the core of their defense for years.
15. Arizona: Jaire Alexander (Cornerback)
Why: He’s the best coverman on the board and the best return man in the draft -- sorry Antonio Callaway and Christian Kirk. Very fluid hips, clocked a 4.38 40-yard dash at the combine and isn’t afraid to come up and stick ball carriers. With this pick, Patrick Peterson also gets some much-needed help in the defensive backfield.
16. Baltimore: Lamar Jackson (Quarterback)
Why: Joe Flacco isn’t getting any younger (or better). Jackson has the chance to sit two years, study the position from a former Super Bowl champion and then take over and set the league ablaze.
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Da’Ron Payne (Defensive Tackle)
Why: Corey Liuget is suspended to start the season, and Payne should be able to hold down the fort in his absence. Just imagine him and Liuget pushing the pocket and Melvin Ingram/Joey Bosa cleaning up and smacking quarterbacks.
18. Seattle: Josh Jackson (Cornerback)
Why: The Seahawks spent the 2018 offseason cleaning house and removing key veterans from their defense, including Richard Sherman. Jackson gives them a prototypical zone corner who has elite ball skills -- eight interceptions in 2017 -- and the toughness to make tackles in open space. Pair him opposite Shaquille Griffin.
19. Dallas: Leighton Vander Esch (Linebacker)
Why: With Anthony Hitchens gone, the Cowboys are looking for a replacement who could play both inside and outside linebacker. Vander Esch is a baller who despite still filling into his frame, flies from sideline-to-sideline bringing the wood. Easy choice for a young defense looking to grow together.
20. Detroit: Marcus Davenport (Defensive End)
Why: Detroit needs a pass rusher opposite Ezekiel Ansah. Davenport lit it up at UTSA, where he was named Conference USA Player of the Year in 2017 and has the potential to be an All-Pro performer.
21. Cincinnati: Billy Price (Center)
Why: The Bengals got help inside after trading for Cordy Glenn. With guard solidified, the team can focus on finding a tough-nosed center with the intelligence to make the right calls. Despite suffering a pectoral injury at the combine, Price, an Ohio-State grad, is a certified warrior who should be good to go by training camp and instantly adds grit to Cincy’s O-line.
22. Buffalo: Will Hernandez (OG)
Why: The Bills have a lot of holes, but none bigger than their offensive line after trading Cordy Glenn and losing maulers Eric Wood and Richie Incognito to retirement. Hernandez is a dominant run blocker who fits perfectly in a Buffalo offense that revolves around its rushing attack.
23. Los Angeles Rams: Rashaan Evans (Linebacker)
Why: After attacking free agency and building up the roster following a ton of trades, Los Angeles still has to replace defensive leader Alec Ogletree at linebacker. Evans is a Day One leader.
24. Carolina: Derrius Guice (Running Back)
Why: Carolina drafted Christian McCaffrey last year, but he’s not necessarily a three-down back. Guice is a violent runner who has the physicality and toughness to handle the bulk of the carries and makes Carolina’s rushing attack much more potent.
25. Tennessee: Harold Landry (Pass Rusher)
Why: Tennessee is in desperate need of an edge rusher and Landry is the man for the job. He led the nation in sacks in 2016 and has the bend, speed and power to be a difference maker in the Titans’ scheme.
26. Atlanta: Taven Bryan (Defensive Tackle)
Why: Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborn are gone. Bryan has the versatility to play multiple positions on the defensive line and has an extremely high ceiling given his fast feet, Herculean strength and non-stop motor. He’s an excellent choice for this young, but talented defense.
27. New Orleans: Dallas Goedert (Tight End)
Why: Coby Fleener didn’t work out, and Godert is an athletic freak who can recreate the magic Drew Brees made with Jimmy Graham. This is a perfect fit for the Saints’ offense.
28. Pittsburgh: Lorenzo Carter (Linebacker)
Why: Bud Dupree hasn’t panned out and Carter enjoyed one of the better combines, showcasing his speed by blazing the clocks with a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash. He’s an elite athlete who could also play either outside or inside linebacker and has yet to scratch the surface of his potential. With Ryan Shazier’s return up in the air, this could be a prime pick for Pittsburgh.
29. Jacksonville: Courtland Sutton (Wide Receiver)
Why: The Jaguars let Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns walk during free agency and could be looking for a wideout to pair with Marqise Lee and Dede Westbrook. Sutton gives them much-needed size at the position (6-foot-4) and should be a prime red-zone target for quarterback Blake Bortles.
30. Minnesota: James Daniels (Center)
Why: As Minnesota continues upgrading its offensive line, Daniels stands as arguably the best interior lineman left on the board. He could play both center/guard and has the foot quickness to help pave holes for Dalvin Cook.
31. New England: Mike Hughes (Cornerback)
Why: The Patriots never do what you expect, and rumors about them trading up and grabbing a quarterback to groom behind Hall of Famer Tom Brady have been circulating as we get closer to the draft. With that being said, after the debacle with Malcolm Butler, Hughes makes sense at this spot. An excellent cover corner, Hughes was also one of the nation’s most dangerous return men at South Florida, where he housed three returns in 2017.
32. Philadelphia: Sony Michel (Running Back)
Why: With no real needs, the defending Super-Bowl champs (which makes me cringe saying as a Cowboys fan) could pair a change-of-pace back to complement Jay Ajayi. Although Michel promises to one day be the starter, him and Ajayi could be a match made in heaven for the time being.